Umps screw up the whole warn-the-benches thing in the Indians-Tigers game

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Yesterday in the Indians-Tigers game Asdrubal Cabrera hit a long foul ball that could have gone out. He watched it as it flew. Which, given that it was either a foul ball or a home run shouldn’t have been too big a deal. I mean, it’s not like it was a moon shot to straightaway center he was admiring. Dude just wasn’t sure where the ball was going.

Rick Porcello, however, took exception and threw one behind Cabrera’s back on the very next pitch. That was stupid and immature. Also stupid: the umps decided to warn the benches right after the pitch.

I thought that if a pitcher throws a clear retaliation pitch — which this was — you eject the pitcher immediately. That’s punishment, see.  The only effect the warning had was to give Porcello a freebie purpose pitch while simultaneously preventing the Indians from retaliating. Or, if the umps misconstrued a later inside pitch from them as a purpose pitch, made it harder for them to pitch inside legitimately.

Manny Acta was mad about it, and rightfully so.  If a guy throws at someone on purpose, they should be ejected.  Why is that so hard?

Giants nearing deal with Cameron Maybin

Cameron Maybin
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The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.

Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.

The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.

In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.